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The State Library Victoria will open the doors to its transformed library on 5 December.

This will mark the completion of an ambitious $88.1 million redevelopment that will increase public space by 40% and seating by 70%. 

We recently sat down with the Development Victoria project team behind Australia’s oldest and busiest public library – Acting Development Director John Wiles, Senior Project Manager Richard Nash, Project Manager Pasenadee Rubasinghe and Assistant Project Manager Mariam Meite.

Q: Fun fact you’ve learnt since working on the State Library Victoria?
One interesting fact about the project is that the refurbishment of The Ian Potter Queens Hall which will be delivered as part of this redevelopment was actually supposed to be competed as part of the previous redevelopment 15 years ago, so it’s great to be able to finally re-open this amazing space to the public.

Q:  Can you describe a challenge you’ve overcome as a team?
The Library site is made up of 23 different buildings, all built at different times with different methods of construction across its 160-year history which made it a challenge to design. Impressively, the facility remained an operating Library throughout the whole construction phase -  catering for up to 5,000 visitors per day which made it a challenge to programme. Each of the 20 areas being redeveloped is land-locked with staff, public or collection storage areas above, below or beside the construction zones, which made it a challenge to coordinate.

Q: The new spaces that will be unveiled as part of Vision 2020 will include a podcast recording facility that will be available for the public to hire - what’s your favourite podcast?
Richard: The Joe Rogan Experience
Mariam: The minefield from the ABC
John:  …. What is a Podcast? 

Vision 2020 is an $88.1 million project funded by $60.4 million from the Victorian Government, with the remainder raised through philanthropic support.

The project has been delivered by Creative Victoria and Development Victoria. 

Updated on 13 May 2024